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The Manse by Lisa W. Cantrell
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The Manse

by Lisa W. Cantrell

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Don't go in expecting the Overlook Hotel. The Manse is a slow burn style of 80s horror situated more in the neighborhood of Hill House or Gaudlin Hall, at least pacing wise.

A few years back I picked up a used copy because it had won a Bram Stoker Award. After learning that Misery won the 1987 Stoker for Best Novel, The Manse winning Best First Novel makes sense; obviously, the voters of 1987 preferred more psychological horror than slashers or splatter.

Recommended only if you enjoy 80s horror with rotating POVs, a slow but steady buildup to the climax, and terror that relies more on your own imagination than having everything shown to you in graphic detail.

3.5 stars

The Manse didn't have the typical haunting. There were a few accidental deaths in its history, but it wasn't until the annual House of Horrors that "the house" began feeding off the fear of its visitors. Those fears powered "it," giving it motivation and desire to want life, to become alive. I loved the imagery of the heartbeat as it gained power. ( )
  flying_monkeys | Oct 27, 2016 |

Meh, the book had great cover art but I'm not sure why it was chosen as an award winner. It's a typical haunted house story but without much backstory explained - little plausibility on how the house itself comes alive when it does. It's an 80's horror fun romp but I had little fun in it for some reason - could it be because I'm too jaded by now?

Characterization is lackluster. There's some trademark characters like Pearl, who is the ominious housekeeper who warns about the house, and then there's the toss-away people who run the house for the halloween event. A random love story is involved, although it'd be as good without. There's a twist for the homeowner, that I did like, but other than that little stood out.

My main gripe was this book was dull - it didn't flow together well enough and with enough ooomph purpose to keep me enthralled. I didn't care much about characters, some of the cheesy scenes didn't work, and I found myself confused rather than glued to a lot of the action scenes.

There's little else to say about this one - it has a cool cover, that Halloween vibe, but it doesn't make the cut as a horror novel that stands above the others. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
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Approaching midnight.
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Each Halloween the Manse becomes a house of horrors. Vampires, werewolves, ghouls and ghosts stalk the premises. But the Manse's horror is more awful than the innocent Trick-or-Treaters can imagine. For its thirteenth annual House of Horrors is tonight, and it will be the last.
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